Mercurial artist and playful personality that she is, neo-soul pioneer Erykah Badu recently decided to hit the streets of New York and find out what it’s like to sing for one’s supper. Placing one of her signature big ol’ hats (suck it, Pharrell) upside down in the middle of Times Square, the Grammy Award-winning artist proceeded to serenade unappreciative New Yorkers and tourists with 40 minutes of freestyle begging.

Badu gets mad props for utter frankness, singing “I haven’t sold a record in a long time, bitch need some money,” and, later, “I don’t want to get no job, lady, I just want your money.” But it’s possible that passers-by did not appreciate her honesty. Despite being one of the most innovative and iconoclastic writer-singer-producers of her generation, Badu’s hustle game was on full-tilt fail this particular evening. At the end of the impromptu performance, her haul was less than four bucks. Maybe her song choice was simply too improvised. Any good recording artist knows that when all else fails, play your hits. This one would have done the trick:

(via Okayplayer)